Over 30 cows slashed as Vitengeni residents demand removal of Pastoralists


A row is simmering between Vitengeni residents and Somali pastoralists herding their livestock in the area.

According to the residents, the pastoralists graze their animals beyond the boundaries of the land they leased.

Already over 30 cows have allegedly been cut using pangas by the locals.

A meeting organized by the area administration to bring truce between the locals and the pastoralists resolved that the pastoralists should leave the area.

The meting was chaired by chiefs from the affected areas, Vitengeni Police Station Deputy OCS and a representative from the area MCAs office.

Harrison Kibigili, a manager in the Sokoke ward MCA’s office chaired the meeting after locals refused to let the area chief to chair the meeting accusing him of colluding with the pastoralists to oppress them.

Chaos almost erupted but the chief said he only signs the agreement after the locals strike a deal with the pastoralists.

The meeting held at the Vitengeni Chiefs office was told how the pastoralists leave their animals to wander into peoples farms without the authority of the farm owners.

Khamis Mbalamwe, a resident narrated how herds of cows have turned his farm into a grazing field.

“When I got wind that some animals are being grazed in our family land I went to witness the damage and it was immense. I questioned the pastoralists why they were grazing their and they told me they will not bring their animals back into the farm. The sad thing is immediately I left, they took them back there,” he said

Mbalamwe said the pastoralists lack courtesy and have been mistreating locals.

He said during the night they release the animals into peoples’ farm.

Kibigili said the pastoralists do not know how to live in harmony with the residents.

“The biggest challenge with you is that you do not honour the agreements. If I enter into agreement with you, chances are high that you will go against that agreement,” he said

He suggested that the pastoralists should leave the area and allow for consultations on how they will be accommodated.

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Omar Nur, one of the pastoralists said they did not take the land by force but they leased from willing people.

Nur pleaded with the locals to allow them to graze in the area as their animals would die of hunger.

“We are here because of problems. We come from North Eastern and it bis very dry there. We plead with you to give us up to the end of September and we will leave this place,” he said

He further said he is ready to compensate those whose crops were destroyed by their animals.

Nur said 25 of his cattle have been injured by the locals.

Another 11 cattle from another pastoralists were also cut.

A local veterinary officer said the pastoralists are in the area illegally as their animals have no movement permit.

“The law stipulates animals must have a movement permit to move from one area to the other but when you ask for permit from them they will tell you the permit will come from above,” said the officer.

The deputy OCS said already on of the pastoralists was arrested and arraigned in court for malicious damage.

He said some locals are also being investigated for allegedly attacking the animals when they find them in their farms.

About the Author

Moses Okitae
Moses Okitae Writes about Science stories, food security and human interest stories.

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